|— Gymnast —|
Alexandra Merkulova at the 2012 Grand Prix Vorarlberg
|Full name||Alexandra Sergeyevna Merkulova|
25 November 1995 |
|Height||173 cm (5 ft 8 in)|
|Level||Senior International Elite|
|Head coach(es)||Irina Viner|
|World ranking||13 (2013 Season)
7 (2012 Season)
8 (2011 Season)
Alexandra Sergeyevna Merkulova (Russian: Алекса́ндра Серге́евна Мерку́лова; born 25 November 1995) is a retired Russian rhythmic gymnast. She is the 2010 Youth Olympic Games champion, the 2012 European all-around silver medalist and the 2011 World Cup Final all-around silver medalist.
Merkulova is the middle child of five children. She has two older sisters (Olya and Natasha) and two younger brothers (Savva and Vasya).
Merkulova began rhythmic gymnastics because her mother wanted her to be a dancer, and her father wanted her to do sports—rhythmic gymnastics was the compromise. She is often compared to Alina Kabaeva in looks and in style. Merkulova said, "Alina is my greatest idol since childhood. But I have never tried to imitate her. People say that my smile is similar to hers. I think that for both of us, to smile during the performance is quite natural, because we have a great pleasure during the performance."
Merkulova's junior international debut came in 2008. After winning all-around gold at the 2008 Junior Grand Prix Final in Bratislava and in the 2010 Junior Grand Prix in Innsbruck, she won the all-around gold at the 2009 Pesaro Junior World Cup and 2010 Saint Petersburg Junior World Cup. She then won gold at the first Youth Olympic Games.
In 2011, Merkulova struggled with new routines in her first year as a senior, but eventually went to the Montpellier World Championships to compete in clubs. She won the silver medal in all-around at the 2011 World Cup Final behind teammate Daria Dmitrieva. In the event finals she won gold in clubs and three silver medals in hoop, ball and ribbon. She was absent from Russian nationals in November due to an injury.
In 2012, Merkulova won the Tashkent World Cup All-around title and the individual apparatus finals in ball, hoop and clubs. Competing with teammate Evgenia Kanaeva at the 2012 European Championships, in place of Daria Kondakova and Daria Dmitrieva who were both injured, she took the all-around silver medal. At the Grand Prix Vorarlberg in Austria in July 2012, Merkulova won the bronze medal in all-around behind Kanaeva and Dmitrieva as well as silver in the hoop finals. At the World Cup Final in Minsk, she finished fourth in the all-around behind Liubov Charkashyna and won silver in the clubs final. She was named as Russia's nominal second entry for the individual all-around at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, alongside Kanaeva, however, Dmitrieva replaced her in Russia's final entries on August 2, 2012, due to Merkulova's foot injury.
In 2013, Merkulova returned to competition after one month of training since recovering from her injury. At the Moscow Grand Prix, she finished fourth in all-around and won a silver medal in ball final. At the next Grand Prix in Holon, she placed fifth in All-around and won gold in ball final. She won bronze in All-around at the Thiais Grand Prix and silver medals in ball and clubs final. At the second World Cup series of the season, held in Lisbon, Portugal, Merkulova won silver in All-around but withdrew from the hoop event because of a sprained ankle. She also withdrew from the 2013 Sofia World Cup and was replaced by Yana Kudryavtseva. She returned to competition at the 2013 Corbeil-Essonnes World Cup, placing fourth in All-around and winning bronze medals in the hoop and ribbon finals. Merkulova was initially listed in the Russian team for the 2013 European Championships in Vienna, Austria but was later replaced by Kudryavtseva. After recovering from injury, Merkulova returned to international competition at the International Trophy "Ciutat de Barcelona" and won gold in All-around ahead of Ukrainian Alina Maksymenko. At the 2013 Summer Universiade, she won the silver in All-around behind teammate Margarita Mamun, as well as gold in ball and silver in ribbon. She placed 5th in hoop and 7th in clubs. Merkulova was seventh at the 2013 Grand Prix Brno and withdrew from the Grand Prix Final in Berlin. Viner said she had re-injured her leg from weight gain.
In April 2014, Merkulova returned to competition at the 2014 Russian Championships where she finished 8th in the all-around. In February of 2015, Merkulova announced the end of her competitive sport career as a gymnast at the 2015 Grand Prix Moscow gala.
Routine music information
|Year||Apparatus||Music title |
|2013||Hoop||Flamenco by Pepe Romero|
|Ball||Heart of Courage by Two Steps from Hell|
|Clubs||Let's Get Loud by Jennifer Lopez|
|Ribbon (fourth)||Peter Gunn theme music from The Blues Brothers OST by Henri Mancini|
|Ribbon (third)||Pretty Woman|
|Ribbon (second)||Stivali E Colbacco by Adriano Celentano|
|Ribbon (first)||Apache in Marrakech by Feel Good Productions|
|2012||Hoop||Senorita by Bond|
|Ball (second)||Farrucas by Pepe Romero|
|Ball (first)||Havana by Kenny G|
|Clubs||Peter Gunn theme music from The Blues Brothers OST by Henri Mancini|
|2011||Hoop||Samba de Janeiro by Bellini|
|Ball||Stormy tango by Agrios Kairos|
|Clubs||Be Italian music from Nine OST by Maury Yeston|
|Ribbon||Espana cani by Cincinnati Pops Orchestra|
|2010||Hoop||God is Gipsy from Foua by Municipale Balcanica|
|Ball||Hernando's Hideaway by Enoch Light|
|Rope||Soul Sacrifice by Carlos Santana|
|Clubs||The Charlston by Spike Jones & His City Slickers|
- "FIG World standings for rhythmic gymnastics 2013". International Federation of Gymnastics. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
- "FIG World standings for rhythmic gymnastics 2012" (PDF). International Federation of Gymnastics. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
- "FIG World standings for rhythmic gymnastics 2011" (PDF). International Federation of Gymnastics. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
- Final Composition of Rhythmic Gymnasts for Olympics
- "Merkulova will miss the Grand Prix Final". Itar-Tass.
- "Merkulova RG music list". rgforum.